Fat. The word strikes fear into the heart of any woman trying to shed excess inches - after all, how can consuming the very thing you're trying to lose be good? So people turn to reduced-fat, low-fat and completely fat-free alternatives thinking it can only help.
Fat is essential. It's one of the most essential macronutrients for maintaining the function of every cell in your body, it's one of the best sources of fuel for your brain functions, keeps your organs functioning properly and so much more! What's more is that a number of vitamins such as A, D, E and K cannot be absorbed into the body without dietary fat.
But there are a number of different types of dietary fat, however, and the one you really have to look out for are trans (or hydrogenated) fats. These have no place in your diet whatsoever and can cause a number of health problems - fortunately these are easy to avoid as they're mostly man-made and found in processed and deep-fried foods.
The rest, however, are good. Even saturated, as long as it's natural. For example, about half of our cell membrane structure consists of saturated fats, and saturated animal fats like some butters or fatty organ meats contain loads of fat-soluable (meaning they need fat in order to be absorbed) essential vitamins. That doesn't mean you should load your toast with three times as much butter, but it does mean that you don't have to cut it out completely. Just go easy on it.
Monounsaturated fat is also a great fat as it has properties that can really help against inflammation, aiding against allergies and arthritis, and it can do your heart a world of good, too. Avocados, olive oil (ideally 'extra virgin') and macadamia nuts are great sources of monounsaturated fat, and each have amazing additional benefits - avocado is also a better source of potassium than bananas, and 100g has almost half of your RDA of dietary fibre! In fact, eating avocado with other fruit can even help the absorption of their nutrients, too.
Then, above all else, there's omega-3 fats. Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely amazing for your body, and, believe it or not, this dietary fat can help you lose body fat.
Omega-3 helps to keep your cell membranes flexible, making them more sensitive to insulin, which in turn means that more glucose will be burned as energy rather than being stored as fat in the body for later use. And storing energy as fat for later use is fine if you're a bear, but not if you're a human. Its anti-inflammatory properties can also help keep blood vessel walls and heart tissue healthy, improving the overall function of your heart. Fat is also a beauty food, as contradictory as that might seem, as the fats found in coconut oil, avocado, olive oil and oily fish all nourish the skin from the inside out. Omega-3 can also improve brain function and the rebuilding of brain cells, maintaining and improving memory, and oily fish in particular can improve serotonin levels - and effectively boosting moods and lowering chances of clinical depression - and reduce likeliness of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
The absolute best source of omega-3 fatty acids are oily fish and seafoods, especially wild salmon, mackerel and krill, and while there are technically plant-based sources of omega-3, they're not ideal as their conversion into the necessary compounds (eicosapentaenoic acid, or 'EPA', and docosahexaenoic acid, or 'DHA') is quite poor.
So, needless to say, fat is important to your body. But due to the foods on supermarket shelves, it's all too easy to get the wrong fats and miss out on the right ones. Saturated fat may still be important to the body, but you need very little of it, which is why it's typically the only subclass of fat shown on food labels, just like how sugar is typically the only subclass of carbohydrate shown - because these are the ones you need to watch. But trans fats are becoming more and more common, and they're easier and easier to consume. They're easy to cut out, though, and so easy to avoid. But with all the processed foods and ready meals available, making things easier for people with busy lives, it's not surprising that the good fats get forgotten.
While the best sources of fats come straight from foods, there are supplements for pretty much everything - they're not meant to replace, only compliment, but they are an option for those who aren't getting enough of what they need. There are a number on the market, but the best of all are specifically krill oils. The reason krill oil capsules are better than fish oil capsules is because the omega-3 is in the form of phospholipids, rather than triglycerides in fish oil, and while the body is perfectly capable of using both forms of omega-3, phospholipids are more easily absorbed into the body without needing to be converted into a useable form (though your body is still very, very good at these conversions).
It is always best to get your nutrients, including omega-3, from food directly, but as omega-3 is particularly important (most of use have too little omega-3 and too much omega-6 in our bodies), taking a supplement like MegaRed krill oil capsules along with your dinner can give your whole body a welcome boost, and you can read more about natural food sources of omega-3 on their website, too.
Though I absolutely adore salmon, I use MegaRed on a daily basis because of the krill oil, and given the nature of this post, I thought it would be great to give one of you a great helping hand with getting a little more omega-3 into your diet!
To win a box of 30 MegaRed 300mg fast-absorbing omega-3 capsules and a box of 20 MegaRed 500mg extra-strength omega-3 capsules, just enter the rafflecopter widget below! The winner will be contacted directly at the end of the giveaway on Saturday 15th. Though my giveaways are usually open to all, due to the nature of the prizes, this giveaway is limited to residents of the UK.